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Subgraph hosted service launches as The Graph prepares for decentralization

Blockchain data provider Chainstack has launched a hosted service for collections of Web3 data known as “subgraphs,” according to an April 19 announcement from the company. The service, called “Chainstack Subgraphs,” allows developers to create subgraphs and post them for a fee.

This announcement comes after subgraph protocol developer The Graph stated in June that it would be shutting down its hosted service in favor of a decentralized network.

Subgraphs are application programming interfaces (APIs) that query blockchains for data and sort it in particular ways. They are open-source, so once someone in the community creates a subgraph, it can be used by anyone.

Subgraphs became widely used by developers after the launch of The Graph Network in 2020.

The original incarnation of The Graph (GRT) featured some centralized elements, including a free hosted service provided by the developer. However, The Graph team announced that it would eventually require creators to migrate their subgraphs to the decentralized network instead and will shut down the hosted service.

Chainstack Subgraphs intends to provide a convenient way for subgraph developers to migrate their APIs off the old The Graph hosted service, the announcement said.

In a conversation with Cointelegraph, Chainstack chief technology officer Eugene Aseev said the new service will provide three main benefits to users compared to the decentralized network. First, it will provide transparent pricing in fiat currency instead of the GRT token. Second, it will integrate many blockchain networks instead of just a few. And third, it will make it easy for mid-tier or small-tier subgraphs to get indexed and discovered, whereas this would be more difficult if they posted directly to The Graph, he said.

However, Aseev also stated that Chainstack does not see itself as a competitor to The Graph and GRT token, explaining:

“We are huge proponents of decentralization [and] We love The Graph. Once we launch the service, and we make sure it works well, and we onboard customers, we will also be participants of The Graph network because we also want to be part of this movement.”

The Graph team has warned users not to panic after announcing that the hosted service will be sunsetted. The official docs for the network stated that “Hosted Service will not be shut down soon.” Instead, it will only be shut down “Once we reach feature parity with the decentralized network.”

Even so, some developers have expressed concern that not all subgraphs are available on the decentralized network, while others have argued that the decentralized service may be too expensive.

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